60 years of dance education

Ein Tänzer mit weit geöffnetem Mund in Bewegung mit anderen Studierenden
(Foto: Ramon Haindl)

2021: Celebrating 60 years of dance education

2021: Celebrating 60 years of dance education

In 1961, a private ballet school for classical dance was integrated into the university. Since then, the dance department has been continuously developing the curriculum in a creative and dynamic process. Current positions and looks back can be found in a focus dedicated to the dance department in Frankfurt in Takt (FiT 1/21).

Titelbild des Magazins Frankfurt in Takt. Titel der Ausgabe: "Körpersinn(e). Bewegung in den Künsten"

Frankfurt in Takt 21-1: Körpersinn(e) - Bewegung in den Künsten

In dieser Ausgabe unseres Magazins geht es um unterschiedliche und interdisziplinäre Aspekte der Bewegung in den Künsten. Und dann gibt es auch noch etwas zu feiern: 60 Jahre Tanzausbildung. Wir gratulieren!

2011 until today

2011 until today

In 2016, the Dance Department was successfully accredited. One requirement of the accreditation commission was to take the changes in the curriculum into account in terms of personnel as well and to establish a professorship for dance theory. With the appointment of Katja Schneider, this goal was fulfilled. Prior to this, Susanne Noodt's professorship had already been transformed into a professorship for Contemporary Dance and filled by Hannah Shakti-Bühler (Contemporary Dance). As a result of these changes, the SPO was fundamentally revised, in the course of which the ZuKT training area was renamed AB Dance in the winter semester 2019/20. In the new SPO, training at AB Tanz includes contemporary dance, ballet techniques and dance theory.

Professor Marc Spradling has retired as of the winter semester 2020/21. He is being replaced by Isaac Spencer.

Beginning in the summer semester of 2020, the Covid 19 pandemic caused major changes in the dance department. Classes were not eliminated, but were adjusted to meet Corona regulations and transitioned to online teaching and live streaming.

2011: 50 years of dance education

2011: 50 years of dance education

In 2011 the dance department of the HfMDK turned 50 years young. A great deal has been set in motion since its founding in 1961. We look back with joy, gratitude and pride, trace the resonances, build on the experiences, shape the present and look boldly forward.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the dance department a 112-page festive magazine was published.

Festzeitschrift: 50 Jahre Tanzausbildung an der HfMDK

1998 until 2010

1998 until 2010

From the threat of closure to a new training concept

Due to the retirement of two professors and the course of discussion of the study structure reform, the closure of the ballet department was threatened. This was successfully averted by the intensive resistance of the college with the support of other lecturers. Dieter Heitkamp (Tanzfabrik Berlin) received a substitute professorship for the position vacated by Prof. Strolka's departure. The newly formed management team, consisting of Professors Dieter Heitkamp, Susanne Noodt, Angela Schmidt, James Schar (artistic assistant) and Marc Spradling (Frankfurt Ballet / 2000 substitute professorship for classical dance), developed a new training concept. The ballet department was transformed into the training area Contemporary and Classical Dance (ZuKT). The range of theory was expanded, body awareness methods were included in the curriculum and, in addition to the existing focus on classical dance, a further emphasis was placed on contemporary dance. In 1999 William Forsythe received an honorary professorship.

A lively and very fruitful working relationship developed with Ballett Frankfurt, which is being further expanded with The Forsythe Company. A continuous exchange has also developed with other theatres and dance ensembles such as the Donlon Dance Company/Ballet of the Saarland State Theatre and the Marco Santi Dance Company / Theater St.Gallen and choreographers from the independent dance scene. In 2001 Prof. Dieter Heitkamp was elected director of the dance department.

Bachelor and Master

The year 2007 marks the beginning of a further development phase of the dance department. The study programme of the diploma course in stage dance was again completely revised and the bachelor course ZuKT_BAtanz was introduced. With the support of "Tanzlabor_21/ Ein Projekt von Tanzplan Deutschland", two new Master's programmes were established: The MAztp for Contemporary Dance Pedagogy and the MA CuP for Choreography and Performance in cooperation with the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies at the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen.

1980 until 1998

1980 until 1998

In 1980 Prof. Egbert Strolka took over the direction of the ballet department. He further developed the training concept together with the lecturers Prof. Susanne Noodt (International Folklore, Modern Dance), Prof. Russell Falen (Classical Dance) as well as the repetiteurs and lecturers and from 1986 also with Prof. Angela Schmidt (Classical Dance).

Impulses from guest lecturers and from the independent dance scene

The second phase of development of the dance department is characterised by the refinement of the teaching of classical dance, the increased inclusion of modern dance techniques, the involvement of internationally renowned guest lecturers and the opening up to developments from the independent dance scene.

Choreographers such as Mauricio Wainrot, Royston Maldoom, Anna Markard, Dick O'Swanborn, Anne Woolliams, Tsutomu Ben Ida, Günter Pick, Stefan Haufe, Dieter Heitkamp and Lothar Höfgen studied pieces or created new choreographies with the students. The postgraduate course in dance and stage dance pedagogy was newly established.

Move to the Eschersheimer Landstraße

In 1985 the "Junge Ballettkompanie Hessen" was founded. The students participated in many ballet productions of the Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt and the State Theatres in Wiesbaden and Mainz. Annual series of performances took place first in the Theater am Turm, then in the Staatstheater Wiesbaden and after the move in 1990 to the new building of the HfMDK in the Eschersheimer Landstrasse in the small hall of the university.

1961 until 1980

1961 until 1980

In the winter semester of 1961, Tatjana Fickelscher-Luhowenko's private school was integrated and institutionalized into the university. The structure and orientation of the dance department during the first nineteen years were shaped by the director Prof. Peter Ahrenkiel (classical dance) and the lecturers Prof. Tatjana Fickelscher-Luhowenko (classical dance), Prof. Brigitte Mietzner-Sommer (folklore dance, classical dance for children) and Prof. Marianne Seippel-Schöner (modern and free dance). The studies ended with an "Künstlerische Reifeprüfung Tanz". Around 1970 a dance teacher training was added.

Early cooperation with theatres and opera houses

The dance department cooperated with the ballet of the Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt. During the time of John Neumeier's ballet direction (1969 - 1973) there was a weekly joint training (stage class) with the training director Ray Barra. Under the ballet direction of Alfonso Catà (1973 - 1976) this class was continued with the training directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell. Students participated in ballet and opera productions of the Frankfurt Opera and the Darmstadt State Theatre. From the beginning there was a close working relationship with the Children's Ballet School of the Dr. Hoch's Conservatory.

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